Weekly Roundup – 12/05/08

Are you ready?  The scaffolding at the Capitol building is nearly complete.  The changes are poised to happen.  If you haven't already, catch up on my perspective on the changes on the EyeonFDA YouTube channel with videos of my 3-part series on The Changing Policy Landscape and the Impact on Pharmaceutical Marketing or my posts re same this week.  

We are in the home stretch of 2008 and of the Bush Administration.  Here is a little bit of what happened this week that caught my eye:

  • Cleveland Clinic to Disclose Physician's Ties to IndustryThe New York Times has reported that the Cleveland Clinic will be disclosing the ties that its physicians have to the pharmaceutical industry.  This has been part of an on-going effort to promote greater transparency by many, including Senator Charles Grassley.  The Cleveland Clinic will list the information on its Web site.  Pharmaceutical companies such as Merck and Lilly, the article points out, are also planning such disclosures on their own Web sites.  Will this have any chilling effect on the willingness of physicians to accept such funding?   
  • Prescription Project Files a Series of Petitions About YouTube Promos by Industry –  The Prescription Project filed a petition with FDA regarding videos that were posted by device manufacturers that promoted products without added risk information.  The group focused on videos that included four posted by Abbott about the XIENCE-V drug eluding stent; Medtronic's Prestige(R) Cervical Disk; one for Stryker's Cormet (TM) Hip Resurfacing Technology.   It is unusual to see a third party petition to act on DDMAC enforcement before the agency has acted, but that is exactly what happened, and face it, the agency has been lax in its enforcement through DDMAC.  The petition kindly collects each of the videos and posts them if you are interested to watch.   However, while this once again leads many to think that digital media is a place hostile to pharma, just remember the mantra – it is the message, not the medium!  DTC ads are not very appropriate to transfer to YouTube.  In the first place, they rely on messages that are used in broadcasting – designed to go out to the least common denominator – while YouTube is really a medium that attracts people who are seeking something more tailored for their own needs/tastes.  We are moving from broadcasting to nichecasting.  You have to get that to use YouTube effectively.  Digital media isn't hostile for pharma, especially YouTube, but it is a communications vehicle and you have to follow the basic rules with this communication as you would with any other, including risk informatin, fair balance and unfounded claims, to name a few.  Meanwhile, Abbott appears to have re-posted the videos on their YouTube channel.
  • FDA Announces New Online Consumer Health Information Venture with WebMD – In what seems like a highly unusual move, the FDA and WebMD are teaming up to get FDA generated materials into the hands of consumers through WebMD.  It is unusual from two points of view – first FDA initiatives with the private sector seem few and far in between and second – it is actually a proactive effort to get FDA-related information to the places where consumers go for information rather than waiting for consumers to come to the FDA Web site.   The FDA does provide information about how to co-brand efforts like this on their Web site.   The project will allow for the FDA to generate materials that then go onto the WebMD site, which boasts approximately 50,000,000 visitors each month and to the magazine.

That's it for me this week folks.  I have been on the road for the better part of the last month and I'm finally home!  Have a good weekend. 

This entry was posted in Weekly Roundup. Bookmark the permalink.